A quick glance across the Web reveals a lot of praise for Atlanta's free agency moves. Pro Football Focus gave the Falcons a B, the highest mark in the NFC South; CBS Sports' Pete Prisco handed the front office a respectable B-; and Chris Wesseling of NFL.comthought Atlanta's haul, which addressed a number of key areas, was worth an A-.
Pundits obviously don't agree on everything, but just about everyone seems to think that Atlanta's signature acquisition, Alex Mack, will be a sound investment. This includes John Clayton.
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Last week, the ESPN analyst wrote about his favorite signings during the 2016 free agency period, and the addition of Mack, who agreed to a five-year contract, ranked No. 6 overall.
"People underestimate what a top center can do for an offensive line," Clayton said. "The Atlanta Falcons watched that last season. They struggled. Alex Mack will not only solidify the middle of the Falcons' offensive line, but he will allow the line to get better production out of guard Andy Levitre, a decent acquisition last season.
"With Jake Matthews continuing to develop at left tackle and Ryan Schraeder becoming one of the better young right tackles, quarterback Matt Ryan should have the best offensive line in front of him since coming into the league in 2008."
Todd McClure expressed the same sentiment during his recent conversation with AtlantaFalcons.com. As a former center, the ex-Falcon knows how much of an impact that position has on the rest of the offense.
"A guy who's been around that long—he'll make everyone else around him better," McClure said about Mack. "He's the kind of guy who can play out that contract. The Falcons will receive great benefits from him."